Michigan church gets national historic designation

September 4, 2017

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A church in southern Michigan has earned a national historic designation.

The First Congregational Church in Jackson was awarded a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in July, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

“It is very exciting,” said the Rev. Kerry Taylor-Snyder, church pastor. “It’s recognition of the history of the church and what people have done through the years in standing for social justice, peace and harmony.”

Rev. Marcus Harrison and less than 60 church members broke away from the pro-slavery General Presbyterian Assembly and started the First Congregational Church in 1841. It later passed a resolution against slavery.

The Romanesque Revival style brick church was dedicated in October 1860 and is still used by the congregation today. It’s become a community landmark over the years through socially active pastors and programs, said Marilyn Guidinger, the church’s historian.

It was designated as a Jackson County historic site in 1975 and was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Taylor-Snyder said the church submitted a nearly 30-page application and waited more than six months to hear if it was accepted.

Inclusion on the list designates the church as an area worthy of preservation.

Markers are typically constructed to show that a location has been added to the national register. But Taylor-Snyder said the church doesn’t have the funds for a marker.